Major Upgrade at Orange Coast College

Orange Coast College is one of the best kept secrets in California. And, know the four-year Orange County college will be having a new planetarium that is scheduled to open for students and visitors in the fall of 2018. The project began as an ongoing construction program that blossomed when former English and Spanish professor Mary McChesney donated $1 million to the school for completing the project.


Orange Coast College regents recognized a need for a new planetarium several years ago, but total ability to fund the project in the short run did not happen until after Professor McChesney’s contribution. Mary McChesney is now 91 years of age and she taught at the college for 33 years. She also made the donation in the name of her late partner Adelyn Bonin. Bonin had also been an instructor at Orange Coast College teaching German language until she retired in 1983. She passed away in January of 2017. Learn more:


While the seating capacity in the auditorium will be increased from 35 to 129, the real upgrade to the planetarium will be the installation of a Foucault pendulum, which is a device that demonstrates how the Earth rotates. It will be the only device of its type in Orange County, which also includes major universities USC and UCLA. The old planetarium has already been taken down after having been in use since the 1950s, and the new facility is still under construction. This will be an excellent addition to the school’s academic offerings, as the 164-acre college campus is home to 24,000 students pursuing degrees in a wide variety of academic disciplines.


The college was established in 1948 following the end of World War II and is located on grounds that were formerly the United States Santa Ana Army Air Base. OCC was initially opened as a junior college, but is now a four-year accredited college being given that designation by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges. It is very popular among California students who want a full college experience in a relaxed atmosphere even though the campus does occupy 164 acres right on the western coastline of Orange County in Costa Mesa. Learn more: